Bob Unruh joined WND in 2006 after nearly three decades with the Associated Press, as well as several Upper Midwest newspapers, where he covered everything from legislative battles and sports to tornadoes and homicidal survivalists. He is also a photographer whose scenic work has been used commercially.More ↓Less ↑
A Chicago activist who has pursued a challenge to Barack Obama’s eligibility to be president since before the 2008 election is asking an appeals court in Hawaii to order the release of the president’s original birth certificate, explaining that state officials have waived their ability to claim any further it is a private document.
The request was submitted by self-described Internet “writer/columnist/investigative journalist” Andy Martin to the Intermediate Court of Appeals in Hawaii this week. It comes in a lawsuit against Gov. Linda Lingle and others and asks the court to order the release of Obama’s original birth documentation.
A circuit judge set a hearing after the election, but because of a growing controversy over the complete absence of documentation about Obama’s birth place – and therefore his constitutional eligibility to be president – Hawaiian Health Director Chiyome Fukino issued a statement regarding the issue:
“I, and Dr. Alvin Onaka have personally seen and verified that the Hawaii State Department of Health has Sen. Obama’s original birth certificate on record in accordance with state policies and procedures.”
But as WND has reported, the statement left ambiguous the information in the birth certificate: Does the certificate on file with the Department of Health indicate a Hawaiian birth, or was it generated after the Obama family registered a Kenyan birth in Hawaii? An online “Certification of Live Birth” posted by Obama doesn’t verify a Hawaiian birth, because it is a document the state has made available to children not born in the state, critics note.
Now Martin’s demand to the appeals court states that Fukino “disseminated information that they had examined the ‘original’ birth certificate, and it was valid. …”
“On the weekend before the presidential election, defendant Fukino disseminated a de facto ‘endorsement’ of candidate Obama’s birth certificate, saying she had examined the document and it was ‘valid,’ while continuing her refusal to release the actual record so her claims could be examined in context and while refusing to discuss the actual contents and information contained in the document,” Martin’s request said.
“With due respect, public officials are not free to manipulate records under their control, playing cat-and-mouse with the public by discussing the document while saying ‘I can see it but you can’t.’ Such behavior constituted a waiver under Hawaii law,” he wrote.
He explained to the appeals court that Hawaiian law already recognizes the principle of waiver in civil matters.
A 1963 precedent said, “It would seem that the more satisfactory ground on which to support the doctrine of waiver is that it is a rule of judicial policy, the legal outgrowth of judicial abhorrence, so to speak, of a person’s taking inconsistent positions and gaining advantages thereby through the aid of courts. …”
“Dr. Fukino should not be allowed to play ‘now you see it, now you don’t,’ with the public. Her discussion and her direct personal efforts to seek worldwide publicity for her manipulation of the historical record constituted a waiver of secrecy in the mind of any fair-minded and impartial observer,” Martin said.
He also cited the state’s rule specifying a list of people who “shall be considered to have a direct and tangible interest in a public health statistics record,” such as a birth certificate.
That, he said, “merely provides a list of persons who ipso facto are entitled to have a direct interest; by no reasonable reading can this language support the [attorney general's] argument in the trial court that the list following the preamble is exclusive instead of exemplary.”
Further, he said as the author of a book about Obama, he is among the “bona fide members of the media and authors” who are given “a qualified constitutional and common law right to access vital public records.”
“To claim that Appellant lacks ‘standing’ to conduct historical research about the president of the United States in Hawaii archives demeans this state and makes the state and its government officials look petty and provincial,” he warned.
“Here, Plaintiff seeks access to the original typewritten 1961 COLB for what are facially ‘legitimate and proper purposes,’” he said, and state law already “establishes an unequivocal common law right to copy public records.”
“Barack Obama is president of the United States. His records while living in Hawaii are the now records of American history (as they were on November 19, 2008 when the ‘hearing’ in this case was conducted). To claim that Hawaii wants to protect the ‘privacy’ of presidential records is an obviously absurd position that brings the judicial system into disrepute,” he said. “Secrecy laws were intended to protect the privacy of private citizens, not presidents.”
John Eidsmoe, an expert on the U.S. Constitution now working with the Foundation on Moral Law, told WND earlier a demand for verification of Obama’s eligibility appears to be legitimate.
Eidsmoe said it’s clear that Obama has something in the documentation of his history, including his birth certificate, college records and other documents that “he does not want the public to know.”
WND reported just days ago how a new campaign launched by WND Editor and Chief Executive Officer Joseph Farah to put up billboard’s asking “Where’s The Birth Certificate?” is collecting attention from other media outlets.
The London Times found it an interesting business story, reporting, “A right-wing website has collected more than $10,000 so far to help to fund a series of billboards to be erected around America questioning Barack Obama’s credentials for holding office. ‘Where’s The Birth Certificate?’ the posters will demand.”
WND has reported on dozens of legal challenges to Obama’s status as a “natural born citizen.” The Constitution, Article 2, Section 1, states, “No Person except a natural born Citizen, or a Citizen of the United States, at the time of the Adoption of this Constitution, shall be eligible to the Office of President.”
Some of the lawsuits question whether he was actually born in Hawaii, as he insists. If he was born out of the country, Obama’s American mother, the suits contend, was too young at the time of his birth to confer American citizenship to her son under the law at the time.
Other challenges have focused on Obama’s citizenship through his father, a Kenyan subject to the jurisdiction of the United Kingdom at the time of his birth, thus making him a dual citizen. The cases contend the framers of the Constitution excluded dual citizens from qualifying as natural born.
Further, others question his citizenship by virtue of his attendance in Indonesian schools during his childhood and question on what passport did he travel to Pakistan three decades ago.
Adding fuel to the fire is Obama’s persistent refusal to release documents that could provide answers and the hiring of myriad lawyers to defend against all requests for his documentation. While his supporters cite an online version of a “Certification of Live Birth” from Hawaii as his birth verification, critics point out such documents actually were issued for children not born in the state.
The ultimate questions remain unaddressed to date: Is Obama a natural born citizen, and, if so, why hasn’t documentation been provided? And, of course, if he is not, what does it mean to the 2008 election or the U.S. Constitution if it is revealed that there has been a violation?
And the answer could take only minutes: authorization from the president to Hawaiian officials to release his documentation.
White House spokesman Robert Gibbs laughed at a question about the original birth certificate, citing the unsubstantiated online posting as proof of a Hawaiian birth.
But here is a partial listing of some of the cases over Obama’s eligibility:
New Jersey attorney Mario Apuzzo has filed a case on behalf of Charles Kerchner and others alleging Congress didn’t properly ascertain that Obama is qualified to hold the office of president.
Pennsylvania Democrat Philip Berg has three cases pending, including Berg vs. Obama in the 3rd U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals, a separate Berg vs. Obama which is under seal at the U.S. District Court level and Hollister vs. Soetoro a/k/a Obama, (now dismissed) brought on behalf of a retired military member who could be facing recall to active duty by Obama.
Leo Donofrio of New Jersey filed a lawsuit claiming Obama’s dual citizenship disqualified him from serving as president. His case was considered in conference by the U.S. Supreme Court but denied a full hearing.
Cort Wrotnowski filed suit against Connecticut’s secretary of state, making a similar argument to Donofrio. His case was considered in conference by the U.S. Supreme Court, but was denied a full hearing.
Chicago lawyer Andy Martin sought legal action requiring Hawaii Gov. Linda Lingle to release Obama’s vital statistics record. The case was dismissed by Hawaii Circuit Court Judge Bert Ayabe.
Lt. Col. Donald Sullivan sought a temporary restraining order to stop the Electoral College vote in North Carolina until Barack Obama’s eligibility could be confirmed, alleging doubt about Obama’s citizenship. His case was denied.
In Ohio, David M. Neal sued to force the secretary of state to request documents from the Federal Elections Commission, the Democratic National Committee, the Ohio Democratic Party and Obama to show the presidential candidate was born in Hawaii. The case was denied.
Also in Ohio, there was the Greenberg v. Brunner case which ended when the judge threatened to assess all case costs against the plaintiff.
In Washington state, Steven Marquis sued the secretary of state seeking a determination on Obama’s citizenship. The case was denied.
In Georgia, Rev. Tom Terry asked the state Supreme Court to authenticate Obama’s birth certificate. His request for an injunction against Georgia’s secretary of state was denied by Georgia Superior Court Judge Jerry W. Baxter.
California attorney Orly Taitz has brought a case, Lightfoot vs. Bowen, on behalf of Gail Lightfoot, the vice presidential candidate on the ballot with Ron Paul, four electors and two registered voters. She also has brought forward several other cases and has conducted several public campaigns to generate awareness of the issue.